Crime: high treason
Date Of Execution: 22 Aug 1746
Execution Place: unknown
FRANCIS TOWNLEY, Late Rebel Colonel of their Manchester Regiment, was indicted at the sessions held at St. Margaret's Hall, for the part he had acted in the rebellion. His counsel insisted that he was not a subject of Great Britain, being an officer in the service of the French king; but this the judges observed was a circumstance against him; as he had quitted his native country., and engaged in the French service, without the consent of his lawful sovereign. Some other motions, equally frivolous, being overruled, he was capitally convicted, and adjudged to die.
Colonel Townley was the son of -- Townley, Esq; of Townley-Hall in Lancashire, who was tried for the share he had in the rebellion of 1715, but acquitted.
Young Mr. Townley being educated in the rigid principles of popery, went abroad in early life, and entering into the service of France, distinguished himself in the military line, particularly at the siege of Phillipsbourg.
Coming to England in 1742, he associated chiefly with those of the Catholic religion; and it was thought that he induced many of them to take an active part in the rebellion. When the Pretender came to Manchester, Townley offered his services: which being accepted, he was commissioned to raise a regiment, which he soon completed; but being made a prisoner at Carlisle, he was conducted to London.
After conviction he behaved in the most reserved manner, scarcely speaking to any one but his brethren in misfortune.
John Barkwick, formerly a linen-draper of Manchester, but afterwards a lieutenant, was the next person tried and convicted. This man was distinguished by living elegantly in prison; and it was remarked that the prisoners in general were amply supplied with the necessaries of life, by the bounty of their friends. It is asserted that they expected to be treated as prisoners of war; but it is not credible that they could be so totally ignorant of the law of nations, or their duty as subjects.
James Dawson, a native of Lancashire, was genteelly born, and liberally educated at St. John's College, in Cambridge. After leaving the University he repaired to Manchester, where the Pretender gave him a captain's commission. Dawson had paid his addresses to a young lady, to whom he was to have been married immediately after his enlargement, if the solicitations that were made for his pardon had been attended with the desired effect.
The circumstance of his love, and the melancholy that was produced by his death, is so admirably touched in the following ballad of Shenstone, that Dawson's story will probably be remembered and regretted when that of the rest of the rebels will be forgotten. A man must have lost all feeling who can read this beautiful ballad, equally remarkable for its elegance, its simplicity, and its truth, and remain unaffected.
JEMMY DAWSON, A BALLAD.
Come listen to my mournful tale,
Ye tender hearts and lovers dear;
Nor will you scorn to heave a sigh,
Nor will you blush to shed a tear.
And thou, dear Kitty, peerless maid,
Do thou a pensive ear incline,
For thou canst weep at ev'ry woe,
And pity ev'ry plaint but mine. --
Young Dawson was a gallant youth,
A brighter never trod the plain;
And, well he lov'd one charming maid,
And dearly was he lov'd again.
One tender maid she lov'd him dear,
Of gentle blood the damsel came,
And faultless was her beauteous form;
And spotless, was her virgin fame.
But curse on party's hateful strife,
That led the faithful youth astray,
The day the rebel clans appeared:
O! had he never seen that day!
Their colours and their sash he wore,
And in their fatal dress was found;
And now he must that death endure,
Which gives the brave the keenest wound.
How pale was then his true-love's cheek,
When Jemmy's sentence reach'd her ear?
For never yet did Alpine snows,
So pale, nor yet so chill appear.
Yet might sweet mercy find a place,
And bring relief to Jemmy's woes,
O George! without a pray'r for thee,
My orisons should never close.
The gracious prince that gives him life,
Would crown a never dying flame,
And ev'ry tender babe I bore,
Should learn to lisp the givers name.
But though, dear youth, thou should'st be dragg'd
To yonder ignominious tree,
Thou shalt not want a faithful friend,
To share thy bitter fate with thee.
O then her mourning coach was call'd;
The sledge mov'd slowly on before;
Though borne in a triumphal car,
She had not lov'd her fav'rite more.
She follow'd him, prepar'd to view.
The terrible behests of law;
And the last scene of Jemmy's woes,
With calm and steadfast eyes she saw.
Distorted was that blooming face,
Which she had fondly lov'd so long;
And stifled was that tuneful breath,
Which in her praise had sweetly sung:
And sever'd was that beauteous neck,
Round which her arms had fondly clos'd;
And mangled was that beauteous breast,
On which her love-sick head repos'd:
And ravish'd was that constant heart,
She did to ev'ry heart prefer?
For though it could his king forget,
'Twas true and loyal still to her.
Amidst those unrelenting flames,
She bore this constant heart to see;
But when 'twas moulder'd into dust,
Yet, yet, she cry'd, I'll follow thee,,
My death, my death, can only shew,
The pure and lasting love I bore;
Accept, O Heav'n! of woes like ours,
And let us, let us weep no more.
The dismal scene was o'er and past,
The lover's mournful hearse retied;
The maid drew back her languid head,
And, sighing forth his name, expir'd.
Tho' Justice ever must prevail,
The tear my Kitty sheds is due:
For seldom shall we, hear a tale;
So sad, so tender, and so true.
Another of the parties tried on this occasion was George Fletcher, who had been a linen-draper at Stratford near Manchester, managing the business for his mother, who, on her knees, persuaded him not to engage with the rebels; and offered him 10001. on the condition that he would not embark in so desperate an enterprize; but he was deaf to her entreaties, and so ambitious of serving the Pretender, that he gave his secretary, Mr. Murray, fifty pounds for a captain's commission. Fletcher having induced one Maddox to enlist, the man would have deserted, but he produced a handful of gold, and said he should not want money if he would fight for the Pretender; which induced Maddox to keep his station.
Thomas Syddall was a barber at Manchester, and had supported a wife and five children in a creditable way, till the rebels troops arrived at that place. His father was hanged at Manchester, for his concern in the rebellion of 1715, and his head had remained on the market-cross till the year 1745, when it was taken down on the arrival of the Pretender. Syddall, who was a rigid Roman Catholic, now vowed revenge against the Protestants, with a view to accomplish which, he obtained an ensign's commission from the Pretender's secretary. The attachment of this man to the Pretender was so extraordinary, that almost in the last moment of his life, he prayed that his children might be ready to assert the same at the hazard of their lives.
Thomas Chadwick was tried immediately after Syddall. He was a tallow-chandler, but had not long followed business; for, associating with persons of Jacobitical principles, he accepted the commission of lieutenant in the Pretender's service; and he was tried for, and convicted of acting in that capacity. Chadwick appeared to have great resolution; and told his friends that death, in any shape, had no terrors for him: but his courage forsook him, and he seemed greatly agitated on taking leave of his father the night before his execution.
Thomas Deacon, the next person tried, was the son of a physician of eminence. His principles of loyalty being tainted by associating with Jacobites, he became zealous in the cause of the Pretender; and his zeal was rewarded by the commission of lieutenant-colonel in the Manchester regiment. Mr. Deacon had declared his resolution of joining the rebels as soon as he heard they were in arms in Scotland; and when they arrived at Manchester, he became one of their number. His two brothers likewise embarked in this fatal business: and one of them was sentenced to die with him: but being only sixteen years of age, he was happy enough to obtain a pardon.
The next convict on this melancholy occasion was Andrew Blood, who had been steward to a gentleman in Yorkshire, of which county he was a native, and descended from a respectable family. Quitting his service, he went to Manchester to join the rebels, and received a captains commission. He pleaded guilty to the indictment, and received sentence with the utmost composure and resignation. The gentleman whom he had served as steward exerted his utmost influence to procure a pardon for him; but the Culprit being told that all endeavours were fruitless, expressed the utmost unconcern, and said he was willing to become a martyr for the cause he had abetted; adding that he had prepared for death, having entertained no hope of pardon.
The next person brought to trial and conviction was David Morgan, Esq. of Monmouthshire. This man had been sent by his father to study law in the Temple; and practised a short time as a counsellor; but his father dying, he went to reside on his estate in the country. He was distinguished by the haughtiness of his temper, and a disposition to quarrel with his neighbours and servants. Having met the rebels at Manchester, he advised the Pretender to proceed immediately to London, assuring him that the whole force to oppose him did not exceed three thousand men. Had this advice been attended to, the rebellion might have been crushed much sooner than it was: for, no doubt, the people would have arisen as one man, to oppose the progress of the lawless insurgents.
The Pretender having granted Morgan a warrant to search the houses in Manchester for arms, he did this in the strictest manner, and threatened with exemplary punishment all those who opposed him.
A colonel's commission was offered him; but he declined the acceptance of it, proposing rather to give his advice than his personal assistance. When the rebels marched to Derby, he quitted them; but, being taken into custody, he was lodged in Chester castle, and thence conveyed to London: and conviction following commitment, he was sentenced to die with his associates.
After the sentence of the law was passed, the convicts declared that they had acted according to the dictates of their consciences, and would again act the same parts, if they were put to trial. When the keeper informed them that the following day was ordered for their execution, they expressed a resignation to the will of God, embraced each other, and took an affectionate leave of their friends.
On the following morning they breakfasted together, and having conversed till near eleven o' clock, were conveyed from the New Gaol, Southwark, to Kennington Common, on three sledges. The gibbet was surrounded by a party of the guards, and a block; and a pile of faggots, were placed near it. The faggots were set on fire while the proper officers were removing the malefactors from the sledges.
After near an hour employed in acts of devotion, these unhappy men, having delivered to the sheriffs some papers, expressive of their political sentiments, then underwent the sentence of the law. They had not hung above five minutes, when Townley was cut down, being yet alive, and his body being placed on the block, the executioner chopped off his head with a cleaver. His heart and bowels were then taken out, and thrown into the fire; and the other parts being separately treated in the same manner, the executioner cried out "God save King George !"
The bodies were quartered and delivered to the keeper of the New Gaol, who buried them: the heads of some of the parties were sent to Carlisle and Manchester, where they were exposed; but those of Townley and Fletcher were fixed on Temple-Bar, where they remained many years, till they fell down.
These victims to their rashness suffered on Kennington Common, on the 20th of July, 1746.
Three other persons suffered soon afterwards on the same spot, for similar offences; of which the following are such particulars as will be interesting to the reader.
Donald M‘Donald had joined the Pretender soon after he came to Scotland, and had received a captain's commission. He was educated by an uncle, who told him he would tarnish the glory of his ancestors, who had been warmly attached to the cause, if he failed to act with courage.
M‘Donald was ever foremost where danger presented itself: he was greatly distinguished at the battle of Preston Pans, and joined with Lord Nairn in taking possession of Perth; services that greatly recommended him to the Pretender. This man was exceedingly assiduous to learn the art of war, and made himself of so much consequence as to be intrusted with the command of, two thousand men. The Duke of Perth having ordered two men, who refused to enlist, to be shot, M‘Donald complained to his uncle, who had likewise a command in the rebel army, of the injustice of this proceeding; but the uncle ordered the nephew into custody, and told him that he should be shot on the following day; and actually informed the Pretender of what had passed; but M‘Donald was only reprimanded, and dismissed, on promise of more cautious behaviour in future..
After his commitment to prison, M‘Donald frequently wished that he had been shot. Being advised to repent, he said it would be fruitless, and he had rather hear a tune on the sweet bagpipes that used to play before the army. He often told the keepers of the prison, that "if they would knock off his fetters, and give him a pair of bagpipes he would, treat them with a highland dance."
He said, he thought the Pretender's service very honourable when he first engaged in it, which he would never have done if he had thought him so ill provided for the expedition.. He likewise expressed the utmost resentment against the French king for not supplying them with succours.
James Nicholson had been educated in principles averse to those of the abettors of the house of Stuart, but had been fatally prevailed on to change his political sentiments, by some Jacobites, who frequented a coffeehouse which he kept at Leith with great reputation for a considerable time.
Having accepted a lieutenant's commission on the arrival of the rebels at Edinburgh, he proceeded with them as far as Derby; but when they returned to Carlisle, he was taken into custody, and sent with the other prisoners to London.
After conviction he was visited by his wife and children, which afforded a scene of distress that is not to be described. He now lamented the miseries that he had brought on his family; but his penitence came too late!
The county of Banff, in Scotland, gave birth to Walter Ogilvie, who was brought up a Protestant, and taught the duty of allegiance to the illustrious house of Brunswick; but some of his associates having contaminated his principles, he went to Lord Lewis Gordon, and joined the division of rebels under his command.
Ogilvie's father represented to him the rashness and impracticability of the scheme in which he was about to engage; but the young man said he was persuaded of its justice; and that the Pretender had a right to his best services.
After conviction these unfortunate men behaved for some time with great indifference; but on the nearer approach of death they grew more serious. On the morning of their execution, having been visited by some friends, they were drawn on a sledge to Kennington Common, where they were turned off as soon as their devotions were ended; and after hanging about a quarter of an hour, they were cut down, their heads cut off, their bowels taken out and burnt, and their bodies conveyed to the New Gaol, Southwark, and on the following day they were interred in one grave, in the new burial ground belonging to the parish of Bloomsbury.
These unfortunate men suffered at Kennington Common, on the 22d of August, 1746.
Alexander M‘Gruther, a lieutenant in the Duke of Perth's regiment, and who had been very active among the rebels, was condemned with the three parties above-mentioned, but he had the happiness to obtain a reprieve through the interest of his friends.
Many other of the prisoners tried and convicted in Surrey were reprieved, as proper objects of the royal mercy; and the assizes for that county being ended, the judges, who were furnished with a special commission, proceeded to Carlisle to try those confined in the castle of that city, the number of whom was no less than three hundred and seventy.
Orders were given that nineteen out of twenty of these should be transported, and only the twentieth man tried for his life; and that the chance of trial should be determined by lot; but many of them refused to accept these merciful terms.
Bills of indictment having been found against them, they were informed that counsel and solicitors would be allowed them without expense; and were told that the clerk of the peace was commissioned to grant subpoenas for such witnesses as they thought might be of service to them. This being done, the Judges proceeded to York Castle, to try those there confined, and adjourned the assizes at Carlisle till the ninth of September, that the accused parties might have time to make a proper defence.
In the mean time seventy were condemned of those confined at York, the most remarkable of whom was John Hamilton, Esq. who had been appointed Governor of Carlisle, having joined the Pretender after the battle of Preston Pans. On the first of November, ten of the convicts were executed at York, and eleven more on the eighth of the same month; and four were ordered to suffer on the fifteenth, but three of these were reprieved.
The Judges now returned to Carlisle, and as many of the witnesses on the behalf of the prisoners had time from Scotland, they refused to be sworn in the English manner, and at length they were sworn according to the custom of their own country.
Many of the prisoners pleaded guilty, and among those who stood the event of a trial, and were convicted, was a nonjuring clergyman named Cappock, who had preached to the rebels at Carlisle and Manchester;
No less than ninety-one persons received sentence of death at Carlisle, several of whom were people of fortune, who had abandoned their better prospects in life to take part in this desperate rebellion. Ten of them were hanged and quartered at Carlisle on the 18th of October, and ten more at Brampton, in Cumberland, on the 1st of the same. month; but a number of them were transported, and several received an unconditional pardon.
Five other of the rebels who had been tried in Surrey, suffered at Kennington Common, on the 28th of the month above-mentioned, one of whom at the place of execution drank a health to the Pretender.
In, consequence of these convictions, many estates were forfeited to the crown; but King George the Second ordered them to be sold, and the whole produce, above twenty years purchase, to be given to the orphans of those who had forfeited them. The rest was employed in establishing schools in the Highlands, and instructing the natives in useful arts.